ONLY ON 3: Witness questions time line leading up to officer involved shooting
A man, who was in the passenger seat, only moments before his friend and driver was shot and killed by deputies, shares his story only with Channel 3.
A man-- who was in the passenger seat, only moments before his friend and driver was shot and killed by deputies, shares his story only with Channel 3.
Maddox Mill Road-- it's the place where Steven Anderson says he grew up with his best friend, Brett Noblitt. It's also where his best friend would take his last breath.
Noblitt was shot to death by Whitfield County deputies Monday after a chase.
Anderson tells Channel 3 he was with Noblitt moments before that fatal shot.
"The officer was coming around and Brett noticed him and they noticed each other and he immediately got nervous. He knew that something was about to go down, you know what I mean?" Anderson said.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has taken over the investigation but Sheriff Scott Chitwood told Channel 3 Monday the chase started when deputies believed the white Jeep Noblitt was driving was stolen.
"He immediately started to turn around and Brett took off," he said.
As the chase started, Anderson says he pleaded with Noblitt to stop or at least let him out.
"He noticed and apologized and came straight to a hault. And he said, 'I'm sorry,' and that he loved me and he wasn't going to let them take what he had," Anderson said.
Anderson isn't sure what those final words meant but he does know Noblitt was working toward regaining custody of his two kids. His next court date was set for the day after his death. Noblitt didn't get that chance to appear.
Anderson believes had he stayed in the car, the outcome may have been different.
"I would have stayed in the car. I would have stayed in the car, that's what I would have done. I could have stopped him. I could have convinced him, I could have put it in his head," Anderson said.
Even though Anderson didn't witness the shooting, he does question the time line of events leading up to that final moment.
"I don't understand why they shot through the back of the car?" Anderson said.
Sheriff Chitwood broke down the time line of events on Monday shortly after the shooting.
"The way the vehicles were positioned, it placed one of our officers in front of the suspect's vehicle. So then the chase was over, what it appeared to be and attempted to run over the officer, at that point, stepping to the side, he discharged his firearm," Chitwood said.
Investigators with GBI tell Channel 3 they are working as quickly as possible on the case but the agency is not ready to release specific details surrounding the shooting.
The two deputies who fired their weapons are on paid administrative leave.
Stay with Channel 3 for updates on this story.
PREVIOUS STORY: North Georgia authorities say a wanted man lead officers on a high-speed chase, crashed into two police cruisers and tried to run over a deputy before being shot and killed by sheriff's deputies.
The suspect has been identified as 25-year-old Brett Noblitt. As investigators take a hard look at Noblitt’s death, his family is hoping he'll be remembered for more than his final moments.
Noblitt and his fiancee Chelsea Johns have two children together and have dated for six years. She's remembering him as a loving partner and father. Chelsea Johns says there is more to the man who led police on a chase in Whitfield County Monday afternoon.
“He was my soul mate, we have been together for six years. When I met him it was like I have known him forever. We just connected from that day on,” says Johns.
Authorities say Noblitt was driving a Jeep reported stolen by his fiance when officers tried to pull him over. The chase ended on Maddox Mill Road where Noblitt was shot and killed by deputies. It's news that Johns has to share with the Noblitt's three children. She says she wants then to remember his laugh.
“He was a good friend, husband, and father. He worked night and day just to make sure the bills were paid and his kids were comfortable. He wanted everyone to be happy; he always put himself last before anybody else.”
It's the good memories she's holding onto.
“Always making me smile, telling me I am beautiful. Doing great things; bringing me flowers out of the blue. Just always treating me special. I couldn't have asked to be with someone better than him.”
She wants people to know everyone makes mistakes. It's hard to understand how this one ended the way it did.
“He did a lot of good for good people, and you won't hear anyone say a bad thing about him. He never did wrong to anybody. That is why I don't understand why this happened.”
The sheriff says the two deputies who fired their weapons have been place on paid administrative leave, according to department policy. The GBI is taking over the investigation to determine if the use of deadly force was justified.